Streetcar expansion elections, pro and con

KC has several elections this summer that could help determine the future of streetcar expansion.
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KC has several elections this summer that could help determine the future of streetcar expansion.
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KC Streetcar

Didn’t get your streetcar ballot? Late mail with applications may be to blame

By Lynn Horsley

lhorsley@kcstar.com

July 19, 2017 05:40 PM

Some people who applied for ballots in Kansas City’s mail-in streetcar election are frustrated that they have not received a ballot.

Several people posted to Facebook on Wednesday that they had mailed or faxed in applications for the streetcar ballot to the Jackson County Circuit Court days before the due date, and they had been expecting to receive a ballot that has never shown up.

The complaints have arisen over an unusual mail-in ballot process associated with an attempt to extend the downtown streetcar south on Main Street to the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

Applications for ballots from registered voters were due May 23, and the ballots were mailed out June 20. They are due back to the Jackson County Circuit Court on Aug. 1. The court approved this streetcar election process as legal and is overseeing the election.

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Julie Tenenbaum, a West Plaza resident, said Tuesday that she had finally gotten a ballot, but it took some work. She and her husband both applied for a ballot. He received his, but hers hadn’t arrived last week. So she called the court’s streetcar information line, 816-881-6671. She was told they couldn’t find her application.

Fortunately, Tenenbaum had faxed in her application and had a fax confirmation sheet.

“They looked some more, and by golly, they found it,” Tenenbaum said. So she did then receive her ballot, and she has filled it out and returned it.

The court said anyone with questions can call that streetcar information phone number.

Others weren’t so lucky. Several people said they mailed their applications to the court at least four days before the due date but were then told their applications had arrived too late. One person who mailed her ballot on May 19 or 20 was told by the court that the envelope was postmarked May 25 and didn’t arrive at the court until May 31.

Jackson County Circuit Court spokeswoman Valerie Hartman said she didn’t know why something mailed in Kansas City would have taken more than four days to arrive at the courthouse. “We can only go by what we get,” she said.

A total of 6,161 people applied for ballots. Of those, 376 did not qualify for a ballot because they did not live in the proposed streetcar district boundaries, from the Missouri River to 53rd Street and from State Line to Campbell Street, or because they were not a registered voter.

Thirty-three people did not get their applications in on time. So a total of 409 applications were rejected, leaving 5,752 ballots that went out.

As of Wednesday, the court had received 1,818 ballots.

Lynn Horsley: 816-226-2058, @LynnHorsley